Colts: Adam Vinatieri didn’t sound ready for retirement before announcement
The Indianapolis Colts’ kicking situation took a twist when they signed Eddy Pineiro to present some competition for Rodrigo Blankenship, who had a costly miss in the team’s narrow playoff loss against Buffalo back in January.
Of course, the Colts’ unforeseen transition to the undrafted Blankenship last year came after their decision to not re-sign Adam Vinatieri, who finished the 2019 campaign on injured reserve following December knee surgery.
That opened the door for backup Chase McLaughlin to finish the year as the Colts’ starting kicker and he, to his credit, performed admirably before he was released prior to the start of last season after losing out to Blankenship in training camp.
Still dealing with discomfort stemming from surgery, Vinatieri ultimately sat out the entirety of last season, which seemed to signal the end of his career.
However, he shocked everyone in January by revealing he was planning a comeback.
Unfortunately for Vinatieri, he’s just now realizing just how difficult it is for a 48-year-old who’s coming off a major operation to make an NFL return.
Former Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri doesn’t sound ready for retirement, but he might not have any other choice.
Appearing on Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen’s “Great Dane Nation” podcast this week, Vinatieri acknowledged that, while he hadn’t officially made plans to retire, he understood the writing was on the wall.
"“I haven’t officially retired, but I’m probably on that way,” Vinatieri told Andersen, via the Indianapolis Star. “Like I said, I’m continuing to do stuff to try and get there. It’s just not … there might be a time to officially do that here in the near future.”“When you get to be our age, and you’ve kicked as many balls as we have, things start to wear out a little bit. Unfortunately, it was a little bit more than we were hoping.”“Every time I try to go out and push it, it pushes back a little bit, which in a weird way, puts the writing on the wall. I haven’t officially, like, given up by any means. But it’s not coming back the way I thought it would or wanted it to.”"
Naturally, just a few days later, Vinatieri made an appearance on Pat McAfee’s show to officially call it quits.
We hate to see Vinatieri’s career end on such a sour note, but you’d be hard-pressed to imagine him receiving as little as an offseason tryout, let alone a chance to win a starting gig. After all, he was borderline unplayable in 2019, and that was before his kicking strength was seemingly sabotaged due to his knee operation.
In 12 games, Vinatieri made just 68% (17-of-25) of his field goal attempts, which included an impossible 41.6% (5-of-12) from kicks beyond 40 yards. When you consider that some of today’s kickers can drill 50-yarders with one eye closed, the game has clearly moved past Vinatieri.
Unfortunately for the three-time Pro Bowler, he was just as abysmal on extra-point tries, converting just 78.5% (22-of-28) of his attempts. For context, his field goal conversion rate finished 31st in the league and his extra-point rate ranked dead-last out of 28 kickers.
Knowing how much he wanted to play, it’s not shocking he delayed the inevitable until now. Hopefully he was able to mentally adjust before doing so.